Sinusitis Treatment: Why a Timely Remedy Could be Critical

Sinusitis has similar symptoms to other ailments, making it complicated to detect. Find the best treatment by learning more about this infection.

A woman holding her nose and temple with a painful expression on her face.

More often than not, people undergo sinusitis treatment only to come back to the doctor again in the next rainy season. Because of the similarities in their symptoms, many people have mistaken sinusitis for the common cold, a simple allergy, or even Covid-19. Therefore, the best course of action is to know more about what sinusitis is. In doing so, you’ll be able to take the appropriate action for suitable sinusitis treatment. 

Sinusitis or sinus infection can be as deadly as Covid-19 when not treated right. Since our sinuses are located near vital body parts such as the skull and brain, the infection can spread to these areas and cause complications or even death.   

That’s why it’s important to manage sinusitis correctly.

Here, we will talk about sinusitis treatment. However, before that, we will learn about the causes and symptoms. We will also look at the infection from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective and the herbal remedies you can take when the antibiotics fail you.

What is Sinusitis? 

As stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sinusitis or sinus infection happens when one or more of your sinuses (air-filled pockets in the face) becomes inflamed, causing fluid to build up and allowing germs to grow.

There are a few factors that could increase your risk of getting sinusitis. Some of them are external factors, like a cold, allergies, and exposure to smoking. Other factors are internal, meaning the problems lie within the body. People who have nasal polyps and weak immune systems are more prone to sinusitis. 

Similarly, TCM also divides the factors into two, external and internal. Six external pathogens are responsible for sinusitis. They are wind, heat, damp, fire, dryness, and cold. Meanwhile, the internal factors come from latent heat in the lungs or qi deficiency in the lungs, spleen, and stomach. If it goes untreated, sinusitis that develops from internal factors might turn chronic. 

Additionally, according to TCM, an unhealthy diet and stress are also related to sinusitis.

Symptoms of Acute Sinusitis

A close-up of a young woman holding her nose with both hands with her eyes tightly closed.
Common colds and allergies may cause acute sinusitis.

You might have sinusitis if you’re experiencing these: 

  1. Nasal congestion and discharge 
  2. Toothache, headache, and facial pain  
  3. Fever 
  4. Fatigue 
  5. Cough 
  6. Loss of smell 
  7. Pressure in the ears and hearing loss 
  8. Bad breath 

Many of these do sound like the symptoms of Covid-19. Just remember that the symptoms of sinusitis are concentrated on the upper respiratory tract. So, if your body isn’t aching, or you’re not feeling nauseous or out of breath, you’re most likely suffering from sinusitis and not Covid-19. However, always consult a doctor and get a complete diagnosis.

Treatment of Acute Sinusitis 

Sinusitis usually gets better on its own but if the symptoms are getting more severe, contact your doctor immediately. Western medicine doctors would prescribe antibiotics, but only when it’s needed. Sometimes the side effects are just not worth it. 

Alternatively, TCM offers herbal remedies to deal with sinusitis. As mentioned above, from TCM’s point of view, it can be caused by internal or external factors. For external factors like wind-heat and latent heat in the lungs, TCM recommends a heat-clearing tea made of Chinese herbs, including imperata and liquorice root, to clear excess heat in the body. The properties are also found in mulberry leaf and chrysanthemum flowers. You can combine these herbal remedies with acupuncture. Internal factors, on the other hand, can be treated using a herbal formulation that aims to nourish the lung and spleen qi.

Two cups of herbal tea with a teapot and tea leaves scattered around them.
Heat-clearing tea is a good alternative for sinusitis treatment.

As part of its sinusitis treatment options, TCM also suggests consuming less fried foods and anything with high fat. Last but not least, since stress is deemed a root cause of sinusitis, TCM encourages exercise to improve your overall well-being. 

Sinusitis, if not treated in time, can progress to a severe condition in certain cases. Hence, it is important that you consult your physician if you suffer from any symptoms of sinusitis. 

This is an adaptation of an article, “Getting Sinusitis Under Control”, which first appeared on Eu Yan Sang website.

References

  1. Forbes. 2018. Teen Dies After Sinus Infection: How to Tell If You Have Complications. [Accessed 16 October 2021]
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2019. Sinus Infection (Sinusitis). [Accessed 16 October 2021] 
  3. Women’s Health. 2020. Do I Have a Sinus Infection Or COVID-19? How to Tell the Difference, According to Doctors. [Accessed 16 October 2021] 

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